HTTI STUDENTS GRADUATED – FINALLY
Last week saw the graduation of several hundred students at the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute in Jinja, based at the Crested Crane Hotel. Presiding over the function was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry Ambassador Onen who stood in for his minister.
HTTI was hastily ‘sent back’ to the Ministry of Tourism in late 2007 following a cabinet decision, which removed the institution from the Ministry of Education and Sports, leaving it however in legal limbo as no provisions had been made to either restore the statute which formed the institute initially but was then rescinded when the Universities and other tertiary institutions act came into effect, nor create a new enabling law at the time. The permanent secretary did speak on the occasion about these anomalies, promising that by mid 2011 a new comprehensive law would come into place, but with a new parliament coming into being in a few weeks and their first major activity then being the national budget, this timeline has already been questioned by industry observers.
Almost 600 students of certificate and diploma courses graduated on the occasion, many of whom had to wait for several years due to the absence of any law governing the institution and the absence of a supervisory board. In fact, some of them did question the ceremony, asking under which law their graduation took place, with one in particular writing to this correspondent: ‘if PS talks about a new law by July, how then are we legally graduated. There is no law, that much we know. I am happy, my colleagues are happy that we have our graduation papers now. We have waited for too long and employers have always asked if our preliminary papers were even true. But still, government let this institution down very badly and when your board left [this correspondent was chairman of the board under the then prevailing Universities and other tertiary institutions Act] Crested Crane was just not the same anymore because of lack of funds and lack of law. Even the degree courses planned and the merging with Busitema University was all forgotten. We even fear that some hotel owners plan to grab the hotel site and we know they have no capacity like government to run a national institution.’
Congratulations in the meantime to the students, the staff, the lecturers and the principal Mr. Mzee Kafugani Magino for their efforts and achievements under at times very trying circumstances.